The first I had ever heard of the Kristen Brooks Hope Center was via my (now) record label (Hopeless Records) back in 2001. The very first Take Action! Tour and associated comp were for the benefit of KBHC aka 1-800-SUICIDE. A 15-year-old me ambled into Hot Topic and picked the comp up at the register, eager to hear new music I wasn’t yet exposed to. (The internet didn’t provide new bands in droves the way it does today. Comps were how I found out about new music.) The actual purpose and charity aspect of the comp didn’t hit me until later on but it was one of those things that you immediately recognize as a worthy cause.
Fast forward to today: I’m in a band called The Wonder Years and, however inadvertently, it seems like we’re helping people with depression. We’ve gotten so many letters in regards to how our music has stopped a suicide that it’s overwhelming. We never set out to make a difference like that. It wasn’t in our goal set of a) express ourselves and b) have a good time doing it, but it calls back to the same idea of that first Take Action Comp— that music can help stop suicide, stop self-harm and start putting people on a track to a happier life. I’m not saying it’s the be-all-end-all of saving lives. I’m just saying that it seems to help and that’s awesome. So, when Mark told me he wanted to do a shirt for this charity, it felt perfect. This is another chance for our music scene to help save lives and show people that maybe the world isn’t so awful afterall.
For those unfamiliar, The Kristin Brooks Hope Center is a foundation started by Reese Butler in the wake of his wife Kristin’s suicide. He began a national, toll free hotline under an easy to remember moniker that anyone can call 24/7 for help if they’re depressed or suicidal.